He calls it Beaters to Heaters.
Oak Bay High student Max Miller, in Grade 12, has collected 60 pairs of gently used basketball sneakers to share with those who might not be able to afford them.
It’s been a big response considering he only put the word out last week.
“Sizes five to 15 but not many women’s shoes, that’s something we still need,” Miller said.
It’s something he’s wanted to do since he was in middle school. His parents are supporting it by letting him use a room at home.
“We’ve added shelves so we can keep them there,” Miller said. “I’ve already had people reaching out to request the shoes.”
Basketball players, like sneakerheads, are big on their shoes and basketball shoes have become a big market. A proper pair ranges in price from $150 to $300. If Miller was able to play for Oak Bay this year his shoes would have cost well over $200, he said.
“It’s something I’ve always noticed. In Night League, and at other schools, not everyone had good shoes,” Miller said. “In [middle school] I saw a player on another team who did not have great shoes for the court so I gave him my shoes.”
It’s safe to say Miller is pretty careful with his basketball sneakers. He keeps them in fine shape and has passed them all on through the years.
This year Miller took the initiative to activate the idea because there are so many families in need. Over the winter break the Bays’ senior basketball team “adopted” a family of four and Miller found out that the two boys played basketball.
“I immediately went to my closet to see if I had any shoes that would fit them. I didn’t.”
The plan now is to reach out to other schools to see if he can offer some of the shoes but also to see if he can add a few pairs. Miller has also considered expanding to include soccer and rugby shoes.
“Yesterday Camosun College gave me 10 pairs, some are six years old but they’re brand new.”
Miller is planning to catalogue all the shoes and will run the program for a year and see how it goes. He hopes it’s something that continues and that he can eventually pass on.
“You don’t see this kind of maturity and initiative from a high school student every day,” said Oak Bay High athletic director Rich Fast. “We’re very proud of Max. The cost of dance shoes, and sports shoes, it gets up there. Feeding kids can be hard enough let along affording extra activities. This is a nice light to shine right now.”
Miller is available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.